Michael Caine narrates My Generation. His present day self tells his audience about his younger self’s dreams of becoming an actor. He had and still has a charisma that only a handful of people per generation had. But his working class accent and background got in the way of initial success. He and the documentary, then, highlight their age group’s determination to make their dreams come true. It also shows the forces that helped and hindered those aspirations.

My Generation also focuses on five other British men and women who represented the Swinging Sixties. They broke through multiple artistic fields just like Caine did. The only thing is that Caine is the only person we see in his present day self. His conversation with the documentary’s other main subjects exist in audio. They different from the people we see on screen who are forever young. Just like many pop docs, it can’t escape from becoming a clip show feeding audience nostalgia.

Nonetheless, this movie is a fascinating look of the conflicting moral values of the time. On the one hand, there’s Caine’s humility which some viewers might see as false. On the other, there’s entrepreneurial spirits and craftspeople like designer Mary Quant and to a lesser extent, hairdresser Vidal Sasson. The latter two noticing their generation’s temperament when it came to appearances. People changed looks as quickly as every two weeks, and they anticipate the money they could make with that.

Some older people tuned into how many products and much money they could make. And that’s all because someone like David Bailey photographed Twiggy wearing some outfit. Twiggy in general reminds me of someone cynically writing that she wasn’t Charlemagne, which is true. This film, if anything, reminds us that history isn’t just about men and war. For the first time, maybe, it was about women showing each other possibilities of beauty and expression. She provides the film’s feminist streak.

Clip show aside, the doc is a decent time capsule, showing a generation’s divergent opinions of class and sex. It showed us the Beatles when they were a barbershop quartet. It shows us when women were dancing to the Beatles’ more experimental stuff. It’s also about a young generation who wanted change and how hard drugs ruined those possibilities bearing any fruit. Of a few successful people remembering how they succeeded but mourning the rest of them who did not

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